Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Candidates Goodluck Jonathan and Mohamudu Buhari call for calm

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Anger at mental health stigmatisation after crash allegations

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Yemen, the Escalation; France's Three Way Race; Clarkson Shown the Exit (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Germanwings Crash; Co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day (part 1)

Read more

#THE 51%

The extraordinary tale of the Egyptian mother who lived as a man

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: San Cristobal, Venezuela's tinderbox

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France's chronic umemployment problem

Read more

FOCUS

Portugal: Anger at corruption scandals, one year after bailout

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Bistronomy: Stylish and simple eating

Read more

We explore the digital revolution and check out the latest technological trends. Every Saturday at 2.45 pm Paris time.

#TECH 24

#TECH 24

Latest update : 2011-03-03

The debate over 'Net Neutrality'

The internet has long been a bastion of open communication where information flows freely. That era may soon come to an end as more governments consider placing new restrictions on the exchange of data. This week on Tech 24: the debate over "Net Neutrality".

For billions of people around the world, the internet is now an indispensible tool that plays a vital role in their daily lives. The ability to easily and quickly access information from almost anywhere and communicate by text, audio or video messages with anyone connected to the network is largely taken for granted. Just how all those bits of data are delivered is now the subject of a fierce debate in capitals across Europe and the United States.

The argument in support of 'Net Neutrality'

Since the internet was born in the mid-1990s, there’s been an egalitarian ethos -- all data, whether it comes from a lone blogger in Tajikistan or from a multinational corporation in New York, is treated equally. The telecommunications companies that deliver information to computers, phones and other internet-connected devices have not discriminated or prioritized one type of contents over another. In essence, internet service providers, known as ISPs, have stuck to the policy of "network neutrality".

 

Times have changed

Until recently, ISPs found that notion to be relatively easy to accommodate. Sending text emails and simple web pages did not place much strain on their networks, and their operating costs remained in check. Today, telecom operators like Comcast in the United States, France Telecom and Spain's Telefonica are among a growing number of ISPs who assert that, with the arrival of streaming video, internet phone calls and other data-heavy online services, their costs are skyrocketing.

The argument against 'Net Neutrality'

Now, these big companies want to change the rules. Instead of treating all internet traffic equally, they're asking their governments to give them permission to prioritize certain kinds of internet traffic over others. Companies like Google (and its subsidiary You Tube), Facebook and others major sites would have to pay to have their content delivered without interruption. Those that cannot or do not want to pay for priority delivery, would be relegated to a slower, second tier.

This move has sparked a virulent debate. Telecom operators assert the current system is not economically viable as interests groups ranging from non-profits to small businesses fear their information will be relegated to second-class status if they are unable to pay.

 

 

By Eric Olander

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-03-27 university

Singularity University: Plotting a high-tech future for humans?

In this edition, we welcome on set an ambassador of the Singularity University. Some regard the controversial organization as a cult, others treat it with amusement, but few are...

Read more

2015-03-20 sun

Exploring the dual nature of light

In this edition, we tell you what astronomists hope to learn from the latest total solar eclipse, as well as how scientists at the EPFL managed to capture the dual nature of...

Read more

2015-03-13 Solar Energy

Virtual reality headsets

In this edition, we tell you all about Solar Impulse 2, which is currently in the second leg of a 35,000 km journey to prove that flying long distances fuelled by renewable...

Read more

2015-03-06 iPhone

MWC 2015: New smartphones unveiled

In this edition, we review some of the most innovative smartphones presented at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Plus, we tell you all about a specific type of...

Read more

2015-02-27 technology

Drone vs. drone

In this edition, we discuss drone interception systems after several mystery drone sightings were spotted in Paris. We also take a look at a growing range of wearable tech that...

Read more